Saturday, August 1, 2009

On reflection...

Finally, we seem to be breaking out of the summer rain/thunder/muggy day cycle. It was a pleasant cool late summer morning this morning here at 527 feet above see level in Jackson Maine, around 55 degrees F instead of 70, and you could see all the stars last night. No sign of Orion yet, but I'm watching out. I did see a meteor.

Was it a Perseid?

I think of Perseid meteors as signs of approaching fall. Good. Fall is my favorite season in Maine. And I am ready for it.

It's been a long wet summer. Nothing has gone easily. Everything has been way harder than it should have been, and the weather never cooperated once. It either rained all my work time away, or it was muggy and hot and humid and I sweated buckets while slaving away.

Are we downhearted?


Fight them on the b****y beaches, is what I say.

Despite what it looks like in this old photo, which, characteristicly is Aimee's favorite photo of me, Aimee and I rallied and finished the straw bale house project that was giving me so much trouble back then, a previous muggy Maine summer I remember so well: 2003.

And I rallied late this week and despite the heat have broke the back of the massive household insulation project I started three-four weeks ago. I still have about two days work to do, but it's light work, and I am already looking forward now to the fall and beginning to plan my activities and down-wind.

Time to reflect and regroup and get a different kind of busy.

There's a lot of planning and prep work to do because I have decided to have a very hands-on fall at college, lots of hands-on teaching of barn-building carpentry, map reading, anemometry studies, and so on. With only three weeks to go, I need to get the prep work in hand, or I'll be working eighty-hour weeks in September.

The problem with my household construction projects is that I tend to do them alone. I like working alone, but it can make life difficult when a lot of equipment and materials are designed for a minimum of two men.

(You may think that's a sexist statement, but actually it's a statement of fact. A truckload of eighty pound bags of cement, or of 4 by 8's of plywood, is easiest handled by two guys who each weigh 200 pounds and are around five feet ten inches or more tall. They design the schtuff that way, and it's as bad for us lone wolf builders as it is for tiny women like my wife who like to build things.)

The worst of this is the forty-fifty-sixty trips up and down ladders with heavy loads that a day of siding or insulating or trimming a two-story house might entail for a guy who works alone a lot. Add 85-90 degree F heat and a dew point of 70, and you have a special kind of hell.

Still, it's good exercise. I imagine my muscles are in pretty good shape from all this practice of what Aimee calls "Mick-yoga."

Omne mane padme hum

But this fall I will have all the help I need and more. Students make good helpers, once you have them trained to work safely. I also enjoy the work of running a crew.

I ought to. I've been doing it long enough. I ran different kinds of crews for the RAF at the tender age of 19, younger than my students are now.

I especially like getting the heavy lifting done with ease. After this summer, I will be happy to have some students to work with me.

I'll be posting on our barn-building blog shortly as I get the prep work in hand.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive and read backwards from there to get it in chronological order.

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